But You Don’t Look Autistic!

Autism Plan But She Doesn't Look Autistic

If you follow The Autism Plan, you’ll have seen Ellie, who is just 12 years old and has a diagnosis of autism, share her experiences and views on what being autistic means to her. Ellie’s videos have had hundreds of thousands of views, and have been shared thousands of times. The overwhelming majority of feedback and comments has been extremely positive.

Parents, schools and families are loving the autistic insight Ellie gives, as not all autistic children are able to explain so eloquently how autism affects them. That’s why we believe Ellie’s videos are so valuable. She shares an autistic perspective – just one! – but one that nevertheless shares what goes on inside that may not necessarily be evident on or from the outside.

There have been a few responses to Ellie’s videos like, “She doesn’t look autistic!” and “I’m still trying to understand how and why they diagnosed her autistic” and “How can she be autistic when she’s able to look at the camera.”

We’re grateful for these comments.

Why? Because it highlights the common autism myth that you have to look a certain way, sound a certain way, or be able/unable to do certain things in order to be diagnosed as ‘autistic’.

This begs the question: What does autism look like?

The autism spectrum is vast, with every autistic person having their own unique “autistic fingerprint”. No two autistic people will ever present the same. If you know a hand full of autistic people, then you only know how it affects them; and just because others don’t display in the same way, this does not mean they are not autistic

The media often seems to propagate the idea that it’s easy to get an autism diagnosis these days. But ask anyone who has actually been through the autism diagnosis process  and they will explain how difficult, lengthy and in depth this process is.

For many it can take years of painful navigation, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to be referred in the first place. The process can involve teachers, parents, SENCOs, Educational Psychologists, Paediatricians, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Child Psychiatrists; not to mention endless forms, assessments and appointments. All of these experts then meet to discuss their reports and observations, to make a decision as to whether each individual is autistic or not. Diagnosis is far from a flippant decision. It involves informed consideration by experienced medical professionals. In short, the idea that somehow it’s easy to get a diagnosis, or that people are being diagnosed ‘by mistake’, is ludicrous.

Every day, families, teachers, colleagues, and in some cases even medical professionals of autistic people, refuse to accept that the person in their life is autistic, because they don’t “fit the mould” of what their perception of what autism means to them.

This is precisely why our mission at The Autism Plan is to change the global perception of autism.

We will continue to share videos, blogs, articles, interviews and free guides and much more, so that together we can show the world autism in its many and varied forms, faces and facets.

Keep watching, as we start to dispel common autism myths. Myths that have been voiced on our own social media platforms by watchers, such as: ‘Autistic people can’t give eye contact.’

Make sure you follow all our social media platforms, because together, by sharing so many different views on autism, we really can change perceptions, not people.

The Autism Plan
Changing Perceptions, Not People

1 thought on “But You Don’t Look Autistic!”

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    Being a mom of a non-verbal autistic child I am guilty of these thoughts too. Siri, my beautiful daughter cannot communicate but has an amazing talent. People sometimes say that she doesn’t look autistic until they start communicating with her.

    I am still work-in-progress educating myself about the spectrum.

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